Bistro 5 West Medford - solid and enjoyable
Finally tried this spot after hearing good things for quite a while. The room, service, and food were all very solid. The room is nicely decorated/lighted, with space between the tables, and has a buzz but is not deafening. It was prime time (7p) in the suburbs on a Saturday night.
The wine list was interesting and reasonable (no hard liquor, so only mocktails that we passed on to start). The waiter steered us to a $35/bottle Valpolicella that met our needs perfectly. The waiter was nice, highly informed about the food, and efficient throughout dinner. They were full to capacity and everything was running smoothly throughout the evening.
The scallop risotto was amazing as both a (very large) appetizer and main course. The crispy tuna appetizer was also really well-received and cooked exactly as ordered for both rare and medium preferences. The calamari appetizer tself was perfectly breaded and fried, but the sweet puddle of sauce under it didn't work for us. The green salad was really only that and the basic viniagrette was not so good - should have stuck with the waiter's rec for the endive.
The lamb osso buco was extremely tender, as were the mint gnocchi accompanying it (a very nice meat-starch pairing, in fact), but I didn't think the broccoli rabe really worked well with it.
The steak frites got a thumbs up. The lobster risotto was good but not as great - it did have the meat of an entire lobster and the plating of it was really nice.
Desserts were above average and enjoyable versions of conventional favs (profiteroles, creme brulee, and pumpkin cheesecake) but don't make this a destination by any means.
We'll be back again when meeting friends in the area - it's a really nice upscale (total of $75 per person with wine and tip) neighborhood spot.
I've really enjoyed the few times I've been at B5. One of the best, still kind of hidden, restaurants in the metro Boston area. It's also a good sign when the owner is the head chef and is in the kitchen cooking every night. Shows that there is care put into the menu and the food.
Gotta second this post. Was there last night after not having been for a few years, and it did not disappoint. Had a very nice 5-course tasting menu w/no bad notes. Shared most w/my wife, so I also tried the chestnut/taleggio agnolotti, which was excellent, and the egglant app, which was good as well. They've always done game well, and both the squab and boar in the tasting menu were excellent. Good stuff all around. Nice wines, nice atmosphere, nice folks. We'll be back again.
Glad to hear another positive report - I love this place. It is really a hidden gem. I love going here for a high-ish end meal without trekking into Boston or searching for parking in Cambridge... it is a really well-run room with a hands-on chef-owner and a really attentive staff. It is one of my favs